Honda joins the eco-club

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With the apparent success of the Nissan March, the first eco-car off the mark in Thailand in March 2010, Honda has said it will join the eco-market with its Brio in a five door hatchback configuration.  Honda’s small car will be on sale in March 2011, according to Honda CEO Takanobu Ito and the projected base price will be THB 400,000.

This is slightly more than the Nissan March, which certainly stole a march on the rest of the local auto manufacturers.  Now appearing with wider wheels, flares and ‘go-faster’ stripes, it is becoming quite attractive.

Honda eco-Brio Honda eco-Brio

Honda claims it will be using a very high percentage of local content for the new eco-car, which will have a 1.2 liter gasoline engine, and most likely a five speed manual transmission, though judging by the interior photograph, an automatic transmission will be an option.  The interior looks quite smart, though it is difficult to envisage ‘size’ in the picture.

Honda will develop unique versions for Thailand and India to reflect different customer needs in those markets.  Moreover, with this vehicle, Honda will leverage the resources Honda has cultivated through its motorcycle business and utilize local sourcing of parts and materials such as sheet steel.

For the Thai model that is scheduled to be introduced in March 2011, the fuel economy of better than 5 liters/100 km will be met so that the vehicle will qualify as an eco-car by the Thai government.

Brio interior Brio interior

For the Indian model that is scheduled to be introduced within 2011, local customer needs for a small car will be reflected and local content will be increased to create a model that achieves a good balance between vehicle performance and price.

“Honda would like to expand the joy of mobility to more customers in Thailand, India and other Asian countries through the introduction of a new small vehicle with compact and highly efficient packaging by utilizing our own experiences cultivated by motorcycle business here in Asia,” said Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor.